Saturday, March 23, 2013

Ghosts, Evil Spirits & the Undead: Oz The Great and Powerful

Oz: The Great and Powerful provides us with an example of a film intensely self-aware of the dialogue other films have created the last two years and what it wants to say. Why is this important? First, it validates our efforts, dear reader, to examine, critique and decode films' messages because if those encoded messages didn't exist, Oz couldn't tap into them to exploit them and challenge them on its own. Secondly, by Oz building on what we all ready know—and what Oz knows we know—Oz validates the path we have taken in those decodings of other films (for example, we know the intensity of harsh criticisms socialists have waged against America and capitalism, and Oz answers those). Thirdly, it shows courage to take on what everyone else is saying and stick by what you believe, because believing is the real theme of Oz, because when we believe, we become great and powerful.
One of the firs lessons we were taught in film criticism was to ask the question, "Why is this film being made now? Could this film have been made five years ago? Could this film have been made ten years ago?" Given that the original film with Judy Garland was made in 1939, these questions are particularly pertinent because such a wide span of time was possible before now for the film to have been made (especially since there have been so many remakes of the original and editions to the original stories). Yet the questions of why now? also applies to the 1939 film: Dorothy traveling to a far away land to do battle against an evil threatening others was clearly a political metaphor for the upcoming entrance of America into World War II and the fight against socialism (please see my full analysis of the film A Call To Arms: The Wizard Of Oz and World War II for more), and therein might lie the answer to why Oz has been made today, we are facing the same threats now that Americans were facing then. Far from ignoring the original film, Oz consistently works in elements it knows we are aware of, consciously establishing a bridge between the two films.
Oz: The Great and Powerful is a story of details:  feathers, a chalice, a music box and an amulet. There are lots of ways to analyze this film, but let's focus on these devices. First, the music box. It's actually a theme we have seen in numerous films, if we have been paying attention, because the idea of “the music stopping” started with Margin Call when John Tuld (Jeremy Irons) says of the impoverished state of his company, “The music has stopped” and continues throughout the film. In Meryl Streep's Oscar-winner The Iron Lady, the “musical” quality some critics complained about echoes this idea of the music stopping and starting with economic prosperity and “happy days” throughout Margaret Thatcher's tenure as prime minister.  Oscar's music box introduces a new take on that theme.
As Oscar does his magic show, two men in the audience "see wires," holding up the girl; why is this important? Oz associates "artificial support" (the wires) with frauds; in other words, anyone artificially being "held up" is a fraud, and that's why socialism doesn't belong in America, because the artificial support given to companies by government programs (like the auto bail out, the Wall Street bail out, Solyndra and other green companies) is the same as using wires to hold up your magic show. Oscar cutting the wires shows "he doesn't need that support" and everyone's faith in him is restored to the point that a family asks him to make their little girl walk again. This is an important moment, because, truthfully, only God could do something like that, and Oscar calls upon God several times during the film. Why establish this relationship? Because knowing the boundaries of what man can't do opens the possibilities for what he can do, and those possibilities are open to us all to achieve, but it's also important to know that which we must depend upon God for.  It's not our imagination that the girl in the wheelchair from Kansas is like China Girl in Oz, the same girl portrays both, and Oz fixing China Girl's leg really symbolizes something else,... we could look at the girl in the wheelchair as being symbolic of the nation's soul, unable to walk--because feet symbolize our will and legs symbolize our "standing" in society, our reputation, our place--but it's probably more fruitful to maybe tweak this a bit and ask if she doesn't reflect Oscar's own soul: we see him cheating, lying and failing to exhibit noble qualities, and reading the little girl as Oscar's soul allows us to see a tangible example of Oscar's weakness through his "petty" corruption. It's by Finley's insistence to go to China Town and help China Girl that, fixing her leg, he also begins fixing himself, because he uses glue, and glue "bonds things together," his bond with China Girl, Finley and Oz is what he needs to stand again.
So what does Oscar's music box mean?
The opening establishes that the setting is "Kansas, 1905" (I thought it would take place much later than that, closer to the Great Depression, like 1929), and we know serious global events were taking place during this time. Oscar mentions, when presenting his new young assistant with a music box, that his grandmother, a Tsarina, died in a battle, and the music box belonged to her. This scene is a perfect example of "noise" as an artistic device: because Oscar babbles words we don't understand (such as person and battle names), we can't process the information, so we tend to "marginalize" what we don't understand and we forget about it (think of a child learning to read who comes upon a word they don't understand, they skip over the word and go on, and that's what we do, too). The truth is, this is imperative information, just like Bane's speech in The Dark Knight Rises, so we have to understand what is taking place in this scene.
In many ways, this small monologue Oscar offers Annie (Michelle Williams) is the heart of the film: we see into Oscar's heart, his intimate dreams and fears in this moment, and what he's willing to sacrifice (a life with Annie) to achieve what he wants to achieve (becoming great). Oscar tells Annie that his father was a farmer, working the land, but we know that Oscar Diggs is going to have to "dig" into the soil of his soul before the film is over, because it's only by conversion that a scoundrel can become a hero. It's not by chance that the father in Oz was poisoned, because--in his way--Oz has poisoned his own father in how Oz chooses to remember him, a "good man," but not a "great one," and of course we the audience know a man can't be great until he becomes good, the lesson learned by Oz as well. In this way, which is a fairly typical device, the three witches in Oz symbolize Oscar and the workings of his mind: what he wants and what he is willing to do to get it. By overcoming the witches, he overcomes what is evil within himself. It's also important that John Gale is introduced in this scene because he undoubtedly is the father of the fated Dorothy. "Gale" refers to a wind--not uncommon in Kansas--and it also refers to the Holy Spirit, like the wind in the sails of a boat guiding its course, and the gale of wind in a tornado leading Oz to the land bearing his name.
The Battle of Mukden in which 10,000 Russian troops died in 3 days at the hands of the Japanese is probably the battle being referenced in the film (when Oscar's grandmother the Tsarina died), because--as a result of this and other failures--the Tsar, Nicholas II, "died" in granting a duma (a kind of democratic parliament for the people). This might seem controversial, however, it doesn't mean Oz advocates a monarchy, rather, it's an accurate examination of history and how socialism typically exploits set-backs and sufferings to advance its own platform. If you think this is stretching things a bit far, we have actually all ready seen this done in The Artist, another film employing black and white (like the opening sequences of Oz). Please recall in The Artist, that the Best Picture winner's first movie being watched as it opens is called A Russian Affair, during which George yells, "Free Georgia!" and he means the Russian Georgia that was under attack by the Bolsheviks to make it communist instead of letting it remain free (his next film was A German Affair about the Nazis; please see BANG! The Artist & the New Agenda In Film for more).
Oscar in the basket of the hot air balloon in the tornado as pieces of wood break through to threaten him. Where else have we seen something like this? We can count the beginning title credits of Skyfall, and I think that's a legitimate link, because we see 007--also a white male like Oscar--being turned "into a target" (Bond is turned into a practice shooting target during the opening song). Why? One of the first and strongest strategies of socialists is to attack the dominant power-holding class, which would be white males, so as to unite women and minorities as a power base, and this has certainly happened in the US. Even though Oscar is hailed as a wizard throughout the film, this is a film about women, much like Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters, and it's really the women who have the "powers."
So, unlike other films, such as Margin Call, Amour and The Iron Lady, who have used music as a metaphor of economic prosperity and happy days, Oz introduces a new element in the device to include hearing a new song being played and understanding how that tune in distant Russia was producing effects even in Kansas. One more element regarding the music box: when Oscar first shows it, it reminded me of the suitcase Dorothy takes with her when she runs away from home. Why? This is one of the many links the film intentionally forges to tie itself with the original, like the horses of a different color we see grazing in a pasture as Oz and Finley go down the Yellow Brick Road (which itself is retained).
The "storm" as a theme in recent films is prevalent because it has served to symbolize the economic storms of 2008 (which some films utilize "crashes" to relate instead, however, Oscar also "crashes" the balloon in the river of Oz and it sinks, "going under" like the housing market). Why does a storm signal economic collapse, or troubles? To begin with, nothing can be done during a storm, so it's inherently a time of non-productivity. Secondly, because the sun isn't shining during a storm, and the skies are dark (there's a movie out right now called Dark Skies) but most of all because we feel so helpless, there is nothing we can do to stop a storm, and its incredible power reminds us how small we are, and that sense of "smallness" and "powerlessness" is perhaps the real driving force in this being such a popular theme because what could any of us do during the crisis of 2008? One note further: please compare the way the lightning looks in this image with Evanora's (Rachel Weisz) "power" she uses, they are nearly identical (except her's are green) and that's an important correlation between the Wicked Witch's power and the storm the film makers want us alerted to. Finally, the film makes it clear that the storm is the "vehicle" by means of which Oscar arrives in Oz, so the good has been brought from the bad and that's a lesson socialists don't want us to consider (the exact same lesson is echoed in Olympus Has Fallen, that the trails of the country unite us and make us stronger).
Next, let's discuss the chalice.
When Evanora takes Oz into the treasury (recently we were in another treasury, that of the giants' in Jack the Giant Slayer, and it's in the Treasury that Mike--Gerard Butler--works in Olympus Has Fallen), he slides and plays in the heaps of gold and picks up a golden chalice, asking what it is, which Evanora tells him it's a chalice, and he says, I always wanted one. Well, no, he hasn't always wanted a chalice, but he wants it now because now it's "his."  But what exactly is the chalice? We know by juxtaposition, because just after Oscar discovers the chalice, he discovers the catch for getting all the gold of Oz. 
Without a doubt, the "treasury" of Oz is also the treasure of Oscar, his heart. His heart doesn't look like heaps of gold at this point in the film, his heart is like the Dark Forest (more on this below), but the gold is his destiny of what he is meant to be, as good as gold to the people of Oz. This is how the Holy Spirit works with all of us: He shows us something that is the desire of our heart (the chalice, in the case of Oscar) and then we are taken on a long, arduous journey, to which we never would have agreed beforehand, but symbolizes God using desire for our own good, for our conversion. Remember, please, that when Oscar faces death in the balloon, he cries out to God, "I don't want to die! I haven't done anything, I haven't accomplished anything yet! Get me out of here and I'll change!" As the saying goes, there is no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole. The trial of the three witches--Oscar discerning what is bad and good within himself--is God's bargain with Oscar to spare his life, but God always does more than that, whether we want it or not. It's only a man who has mastered himself, after all, who is worthy to be master of others, and that's not only the story of Oscar, but of Americans as well, and of the "wizards" in America, the Bruce Waynes (Christian Bale) and the Tony Starks (Robert Downey Jr). When we think of a treasury such as this, we think of the 1% who have mountains of wealth sitting around, but Oz the Great and Powerful is not just the story of a man wanting to become great and powerful, but a story of Americans and how each of us, individually, are great and powerful in our own ways, and it's not because of wealth, it's because of the greatness in our hearts, we are the tinkers, the seamstresses, the scarecrow makers, the little people of Oz, without whom there is no Oz.
The gold, Evanora tells Oz, belongs to whoever is king, and you can't be king until you defeat the Wicked Witch who lives in the Dark Forest, and he must destroy her wand, her source of power. Because the introduction of the chalice is next to the introduction of the task which Oscar must fulfill before he can get the treasure, it's easy to see how the chalice symbolizes the difficulties Oz must endure, the chalice from which he will have to drink deeply to be purged of his own wrong doings and faults; what are those exactly?
Let's take a moment to examine the costume of Theodora. Why on earth is she wearing black leather pants? Because leather comes from animals, and black is the color of death, so her lower-region (her sexual organs) or controlled by her animal appetites (come on, why else would they have Mila Kunis playing a witch, her good acting?). In this case, the white shirt, unlike Glinda's purity and innocence, symbolizes death (because a corpse turns white as it loses life), and this is the region of her heart. Why odes this happen to her? When Evanora and Theodora discuss Oz, and Theodora gets mad and creates the fireball to throw, she tells Evanora she only wants peace, that she is on neither side. Not being bad isn't good enough, she has to be good, and she hasn't been good. Oscar's black and white clothing reveals that he, too, is dead, but he still makes the right choice to help others (Finley, China Girl and Glinda) and thereby helps himself by doing good so he can become good.
There are many things we can call Oscar Diggs, because he himself has "so many names" and he tends to "dig" himself into bad situations. He introduces himself to Theodora and gives a long list of names, because each of us would call his type of scoundrel something different, a cheat, a liar, a villain, a fiend, a cheapskate, etc. A "dis-ingenuine heart" is really what ails Oscar (and we can say this because of the gifts he gives at the end of the film, they symbolize a sincere and genuine heart towards his friends) and that's how we know his connection with Theodora, her broken heart.
There is quite a bit about this scene to discuss. First, it follows Oz's and Finley's discussion about Oz "coming clean" and doing penance for lying to everyone about being the wizard; the well-placed image of the "horses of a different color" grazing in the background illustrate Oscar's own "chameleon" quality in adapting to situations, but also how these moments are making him the man he needs to become. Just because Oscar isn't the wizard at that moment, doesn't mean he isn't a wizard because everything we do in life prepares us for our destiny, and his decision to go to China Town reflects this. Its not just the Dutch-styled windmill in the background which alerts us to the Netherlands (remember, we saw this windmill in Jack the Giant Slayer being thrown), but the porcelain industry (the "China") which "builds up" the town, not only in terms of infrastructure, but the people and economy as well (the reference to China, the communist country, is a clever way of juxtaposing the two opposing economic models). The Netherlands are considered by historians to be the first capitalist economy in the world, with the world's oldest stock market, so the witch has "crashed" China Town for celebrating the arrival of the wizard and it's one of the towns inhabitants accompanying Oz in his journey. Again, Oz helping the China Girl to "stand again" is very much the "standing up" of American capitalism and the regaining of strength (please remember that women symbolize the passive element of the "motherland" and children symbolize the future, so China Girl--because she's from China Town symbolizing capitalism--symbolizes both by the film makers' stroke of genius). It's the glue that binds her leg, just as the act of binding her leg "binds" Oscar to her and why she grabs onto his leg when she wants to go "witch hunting" reminding him that "capitalists stick together" (which is what we saw in Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted; please see Trapeze Americano: Madagascar 3 & the Capitalist Circus for more).
We will often shrug off our sins and shortcomings thinking they aren't that important; art, however, forms definite sins through personification, both in Evanora and in Theodora, which leads us to our third point: amulets. Evanora, we can deduce, symbolizes Oscar's greed because of how she treats him and her power comes from the amulet she wears around her neck (pictured below). When Oscar first sees Oz, the Emerald City, he says green is his favorite color, but green--as we well know--symbolizes both hope and decay, which is why we have the Emerald City as a center of hope on the one hand, and the green face of the Wicked Witch (Theodora) on the other. The Emerald City is a place of hope for Oz because it's his new life, his rebirth as a good man instead of the "great man" he had in his mind.
Which leads us to Theodora,...
Numerous elements combine to define Evanora for us. The first time we see her, she is behind the throne in the shadows. The throne, because it is tied to the treasury of Oz (only the king gets the treasure and the king sits on the throne) symbolizes, like the treasure, Oscar's heart, which is why Theodora thinks she belongs there with him, he will be guided by romantic love. Evandora, on the other hand, thinks Oscar will be guided by money because a throne is a seat of power and she thinks Oscar's heart wants money to get power. Her being in the shadows, obviously, illuminates the darkness in her own heart, but that darkness is Oscar's own darkness, the grip money has on him and what guides him, which is why, as the symbol of Oscar's greed, Evanora wears the amulet: the neck is the region revealing by what we are guided, like an animal on a leash.  As we know, green symbolizes both hope and decay, it's like what a lot of us think we could do if we had a million dollars, for example, hope for a new life and a new beginning, but what money ends up doing to a lot of people, corrupting them. Oscar wants the money of Oz for himself and Evanora knows she can use this to get Oscar to kill Glinda for her. But This isn't all we know about Evanora. The feathers on her shoulders are imperative to understanding what happens in Oscar's conversion process because Theodora as the Wicked Witch and Glinda also have feathers on their costume (more on this below).
Why is the Wicked Witch green?
 It's probably obvious to us that Oscar wants money (Evanora has a symbol of Oscar's greed) but the love Oscar wants isn't as obvious. After all, doesn't the beautiful Annie come and want to be with him instead of John Gale? But Theodora's quick romance with Oscar (she only knows him a bit and assumes they will marry) reflects Oscar's own shallow interactions with women, with all people, because instead of loving Frank his assistant in the magic show, he gets angry with him, which is why Theodora--as the symbol of Oscar's bad relationships--wears red: red is both the color of love (because when we love someone we are willing to shed our [red] blood for them) and the color of anger (when we are angry with someone, we are willing to spill their blood to appease ourselves). Theodora goes from being beautiful in red to hideous in green; why?
Please recall the reason Oscar jumps into the basket of the balloon is to escape the anger of a disgruntled husband whose wife Oscar gave one of his music boxes to, which is why the "tornado" is behind the Wicked Witch in this poster, those shallow, self-serving affairs Oscar "digs" himself into. When the Wicked Witch makes her grand entrance into Oz in her ball of fire, it foreshadows the ball of fire Oz will appear in towards the end in the Emerald City before Evanora and Theodora, his resurrection. Just as Theodora and Evanora become worse and worse, Oz becomes better and stronger. We can't deny, however, that Evanora gives Theodora a poisoned apple, invoking the Forbidden Fruit from the Garden Of Eden and the tradition of that as sexual knowledge. In other words, the night Theodora and Oscar spend together in the woods is not innocent, and her giving herself to him is now revealed to be her big mistake which she cannot undo.
We have a misguided sense of what is best for us, and Oz the Great and Powerful emphasizes the lesson emphatically. Oscar thinks it's best for him to only be in shallow relationships so he doesn't get tied down (like with Annie) but doing that turns him rotten like the green Wicked Witch, however, the goodness which Glinda embodies also becomes Oscar's goodness as he binds himself to her cause and to her. Just as that shallow part of Oscar is dying in Theodora's green body, Glinda's faith, innocence and purity enlivens Oscar, which brings us to our fourth point: feathers.
It's difficult to see in this shot, but white feathers adorn the bodice of Glinda's gown, just as black feathers feature on Evanora's and Theodora's outfits (the shoulders of the Wicked Witch costume). We've discussed this before, how birds (feathers come from birds) symbolize the Holy Spirit and we are attracted to bad things initially because we don't realize how bad something can be for us, but afterwards, we crave the good because we know how deadly evil is (consider for example Edmund from The Chronicles Of Narnia). Why does Glinda summon fog as an ally? When Evanora gives Theodora the poisoned apple to help her see more clearly, what really happens is she becomes blinded by rage and jealousy and only seeing ugliness in Oscar, she herself becomes ugly. Glinda, however, is able to block out what is undesirable in Oscar and sees only his good qualities, or at least the qualities that can become good, and the fog symbolizes her ability to "discern" and block out what not only would damage her goodness, but her ability to see good in others (the way the fog muffles the sleep effect of the poppies in this scene). The smoke which Oscar incorporates into his big act in the final scene (against which his face appears as the resurrected Oz) is like this fog Oscar uses for everyone else to "block out" his human qualities and focus on his great power now. Interesting enough, in Side Effects, Emily (Rooney Mara) describes her depression as a poisonous fog bank clouding her judgment.
It's difficult to see in the image above, but Glinda's bodice has white feathers on it, just as black feathers adorn Evanora's and Theodora's Wicked Witch costumes on their shoulders. We see Glinda in white--not the pink of Billy Burke's Glinda outfit from the original--because the white of Glinda's costume must offset the rotting nature of Evanora's and Theodora's. Even though Glinda's white symbolizes faith, purity and innocence, these aren't traits Oscar believes will give him "life," which is why it's so easy for Evanora (in a symbolic sense) to get Oscar to go to the Dark Forest and kill Glinda. Oscar has to come to the realization that only good men are great men, and great men care for and protect those not as strong as themselves, like the "little people" of Oz.
Oscar doesn't want to go to the Dark Forest, but must because it illustrates the state of his own heart at that moment. When China Girl talks as they go through, she talks about the "ghosts, evil spirits and the undead," which is the name of Nosferatu the vampire (translated means the undead). Oscar is all these things, in other words: a ghost of the man he should be, a spirit bringing evil upon others instead of good, and a vampire. When they stand at the entrance to the Dark Forest, the ravens tell them, "You'll die! You'll die!"  and they must die because they have to die to themselves and embrace the greater good, the cause bigger than themselves (this is why there is the graveyard in the Dark Forest where Glinda is). At the end of the Dark Forest is Glinda, but they don't expect her, because none of us expect good and light to come from the dark and evil misfortunes that befall us which is why--like Oscar--we are so upset and afraid when bad things come upon us. Consequently, we have seen this same theme in Snow White and the Huntsman, where they must enter the Dark Forest as well and which the poisonous apple Evanora gives Theodora strengthens the connection.
The people of Oz provide us with a unique insight into what is going on within Oscar, because none of them are allowed to kill anyone, and they seem to be nothing more than tinkerers, seamstresses, dancers and the likes. These are the qualities, the skills necessary to defeat evil, and we saw this same thesis in Rise Of the Guardians with Jack Frost. The people in Oz sing and dance because they can, they are not weighed down by greed, fear, and the darkness of heart which rots Evanora and Theodora. This is how Oscar must become, too, because those are the qualities which destroy the evil and sin and faults within us, because when you are good, you feel like being good.
China Girl has saved Glinda's wand from the abduction of the flying monkeys who took her. Why does this happen? In spite of how fragile she is, she gets that wand back to Glinda, because it's the "little people" who really have the power and entrust it to those strong enough and good enough to use it, in this case, Glinda. China Girl is the least of all the characters in the film, but if it weren't for her, Evanora couldn't be defeated because Glinda has to have her wand. The capitalist structure really reveals itself in this sequence because the flying monkeys--the Wicked Witch's minions--are very much like the Liberal Press and Feminists and thought police who fight with anyone not adhering to their way. We can easily see the socialists in Evanora who poisoned the father so she could get the throne for herself, just as socialists have been poisoning the founding fathers so they can take over the country and destroy anyone who stands in their way. But Theodora is like those who have gone along with them because of their personal loss and legitimate crimes committed against them, and for this reason Oz tells her that she can return to Oz, because it wasn't her fault. Theodora is so hardened in her heart, however, that she would never do that.
It's important to discuss the final "battle."
Oz makes like he is making off with gold and escaping; what does that remind you of? Maybe the Wall Street bail out, the auto bail out, and even Bruce Wayne "not going broke" the way the rest of us do. The hot air balloon acts like a protective bubble, serving to feed our stereotypes that the rich are protected and don't feel economic pains like we do, and honestly, I probably agree with that, however, it's certain that rich people are a target, just as the balloon is, and their balloon is just as frail as ours, which explains Glinda's "bubbles": whereas Glinda in the 1939 original had more of an aura, we know today's Glinda has bubbles, because "bubble" is also an economic term, like the internet bubbles of the 1990s and the housing bubbles. Those bubbles aren't real sources of wealth, like some of us tend to view them ("If only I had cashed in on Yahoo! stocks," you might have said once) but only for show; the real base of Glinda's power comes from her wand, like the sceptre Oz tests for himself: the wand and the scepter are entrusted to them and can be taken away, so they have to prove themselves worthy of being good custodians.
Whereas Thomas Edison is the role model for Oscar, he is evil incarnate in The Apparition, an anti-capitalist and anti-fossil fuel horror film which does not ever mention Edison, however, this exact picture (above) is shown during the credits. Most of us would consider Edison a giant in the history of mankind because his inventions changed the lives of billions of people on an everyday basis. A film such as The Apparition, however, argues that we only believe we can't live without electricity and Internet because we have been told that (and of course, Jack the Giant Slayer only wants to make giants like Edison look greedy and ridiculous) . It's as an apparition that Oscar appears towards the end of the film when confronting Evanora and Theodora, having incorporated their powers (as his inner-parasites they symbolize) to strengthen himself so he can overcome them both at the end. In other words, the war socialists wage against great Americans only gives them a stage upon which to prove and demonstrate how great and powerful all of us are, and we see this in Olympus Has Fallen and we will see it in Iron Man 3. The giants and wizards of America don't lord over us, they inspire us to do our own great deeds, by giving us a standard we can live up to and surpass.
In The Avengers, a reference is made to Loki and his "flying monkeys," and Steve Rogers (Chris Evans, Captain America) says, "I got that," because he saw The Wizard Of Oz, and he knows that the Wicked Witch is bad because of how she treats those beneath her, the way Tony Stark only gives Pepper Potts 12% of the credit for helping him with the creation of Stark Tower. Oscar Diggs is exactly the same way with Frank and Finley (the three "ups": show up, keep up, shut up; no up-ward advancing though). When Oscar learns to give his friendship to Finley, he has not only overcome his own shallowness in relationships, but recognizes others as his equals and that it's important for him to do that (we see the same relationship transformation between M and Bond in Skyfall and how M treats the agents so badly and how Thorin treats Bilbo in The Hobbit). Oz the Great and Powerful clearly sets out with a long agenda and, I must add, accomplishes each item to the greatest satisfaction. I have only begun to touch upon all the wonderful insights of the film, but I will leave the rest for you to discover.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner